Medina Lake at Night – Drought by Moonlight – Texas Hill Country

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The other night at 9:30, my brother and I rather spontaneously set out for Medina Lake, after at first only intending to give my Toyota Matrix XRS a short spin and perhaps trying to find some landscapes to shoot with the full or nearly full moon shining above them.

I can report that the winding road between Helotes and Medina Lake is a lot of fun in a 6-speed manual with a little zip, even if only a little bit of zip, and with a little willingness to power through the corners. As for Medina Lake, well you can see that its water level has fallen even further than its level when we visited this past January due to the protracted drought in these parts.

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Even so, with the moon directly above the lake and glittering off of the waters and a strong breeze, the night was delightful. Some of these shots are hand-held and some are the result of the old use-your-tshirt-as-a-tripod school of photography. Already fearing we were, strictly speaking, pushing at our luck at being as close to the lake as we were, we did not go down as far as last time. Oh, and the grassy areas may well have been rather snake-y, which was added incentive to stay close! Even so, we were able to find some promising landscapes, both by looking toward and away from the lake.

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With the beauty of the night–the twinkling water, the warm breeze–with the freedom of having my shirt off and the mild antinominianism of the whole adventure, I was reminded of the many campouts we were taken on in our boarding school in Pakistan, when we would spend a weekend near a river (one of the most storied in the world) or a dam. These weekends were adventurous for other reasons–like maybe getting to sit with the girl you liked on the trip there and back or the thrill of setting off illicit fireworks and not getting caught–but some of the most satisfying moments were just like the ones my brother and I had by Medina Lake, with the magic of moonlight and water and wind against your body and a dear friend close by.

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Three from the Fair – Fair St. Louis Fireworks – Gateway Arch, St. Louis

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Fair St. Louis is another item on the long lists of free activities in St. Louis. I went down for one day of the Fair this year to listen to The Counting Crows and watch fireworks and was both discouraged and encouraged. Back in the day when Fair St. Louis used to be the VP Fair (a name with a very odd provenance) it used to be the biggest 4th of July celebration in the entire country. The crowd on Saturday, July 6th was decidedly small and the fireworks diminished. On the other hand, walking down Washington Avenue, it was clear that downtown St. Louis (or at least the north half) is far more vibrant and vital than it was in the 80’s. I will take that trade off. And when the Arch gets fully integrated into downtown, as one can see the plans for in this video, that is really going to be great! They had just better not renovate out my favorite exhibit which has the beaver stream!

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